FLUX Doctoral Symposium

LUL, Room 3.23

The FLUX Doctoral Symposium aims to bring together our research communities in both our East Midlands and London campuses to exchange and strengthen our understanding of the role of design in a world in flux. During the day, Prof. Ezio Manzini will deliver a keynote framing the concept of flux. Likewise, our doctoral researchers will present their research posters, receive feedback from Prof. Ezio Manzini, join a tour of Hackney Wick (famous for its creative scene) and visit an independent creative space in the area. A reception will also take place by the end of the day.

Crises make acute the impermanent nature of our social systems and therein the latent possibility to redesign, remake and redirect our social worlds towards sustainable futures.

These crises imply not only changes in our living environments, but also widespread changes in our political, social and economic orders.

The overarching design symposium theme of FLUX aims to speak to the essence of this temporary condition and the subsequent prospects to displace outmoded and ingrained systems, practices and ideas with vital new ones.

Yet, in a critique revealing the political, social and historical conditions through which design has manifested, design’s marriage to and standard articulation as a universalist industrial modernist practice has been panned by design theorist Tony Fry as de-futuring. This speaks to contemporary design discourses on power structures and privilege, which are foregrounded in an increasingly self-critical field.

Facing this allows us to conceptualize and understand that any-and-all design institutions—conceptual, educational, governmental—are always in flux, as they are articulated within changing sociopolitical contexts. This is to situate our interests squarely within the need for new social and cultural design practices that form institutions out of and towards new visions of living well together.

Designing in instances of flux necessitates designing within and through ambiguity, relationality, mutability, dependency, reciprocity, and fluidity. By observing sites of tension, dissonance, and contradiction we derive meaning that is productive of and generative to new design knowledge. This speaks to emerging practices and movements towards design after design, ontological design, open design, publics, decolonizing design, critical design, more-than-human design, and so on.

The FLUX Doctoral symposium will consider these questions and provocations through the intertwined themes of dialogue, difference, and displacement.

Book your place at the FLUX Doctoral Symposium